Week In Review

CITY HALL

John Drayman is now pulling his own little red wagon as Glendale’s new mayor one year after he famously turned down a nomination for the position days after winning the municipal office.

At the time, all eyes turned to Drayman to give the swing vote on a stalemate for mayor, but he instead told his new colleagues that he would not climb aboard the “little red wagon” they were pulling and abstained, forcing Councilman Bob Yousefian to change his vote for Ara Najarian.

This year’s mayoral appointment process was decidedly less chaotic, with a unanimous vote to appoint Drayman to the head post preluding a round of figurative back-patting for getting through what he called a “remarkably productive and dramatic year.”

His appointment as mayor comes three years after a meager showing in the polls during his failed 2005 bid for City Council, and just one year after supplanting former councilman Rafi Manoukian as the top vote-getter in the 2007 election.

 A city commissioner is under fire from his colleagues for apparently sending an e-mail Monday to City Councilman Dave Weaver in which he lobbied to have federal funding increased for two programs on a list of recommendations he had previously voted to support.

The e-mail, written by Community Development Block Grant Advisory Committee Vice-Chairman Gary Cornell, was denounced by Weaver on Tuesday during the joint Housing Authority meeting before calling for his resignation.

The seven-member Housing Authority, which includes all five City Council members and is chaired by Weaver, was scheduled to deliberate on how to disburse $503,154 in federal grants to 20 nonprofit community service organizations. Those deliberations were continued to next week after 50 speakers made their final pitches for funding.

In January, the Community Development Block Grant Advisory Committee voted unanimously to send its recommendations on how the federal money should be divvied up among the applicants after undergoing two all-day pitching sessions and weeks of site visits for evaluation.

PUBLIC SAFETY

Less than two weeks after hundreds of mourners were granted access to Grand View Memorial Park for the first time in 10 months, stakeholders in the troubled cemetery are planning another opening in late May.

The March 30 opening drew hundreds of people from Glendale and beyond to visit the graves of loved ones; some brought flowers, while others brought gardening tools and cleaning equipment to remove accumulated debris from headstones.

And while the four-hour visitation was met with much jubilation and relief, visitors are still itching for attorneys tangled in a series of lawsuits targeting the cemetery to agree on a regular visitation schedule.

For now, attorney David Baum, who represents cemetery operator and co-owner Moshe Goldsman, is looking to open Grand View again on May 25, but not without more volunteers.

The tentative plan to open the park on May 25 could be confirmed at a status conference hearing on May 16 in Los Angeles Superior Court.

 An FBI task force arrested a 56-year-old Glendale man Tuesday night on suspicion of possession of child pornography.

Ivan Carcelen, a special education teacher at Griffith Middle School in East Los Angeles, was taken into custody at his home at about 6 p.m. as a part of a Sexual Assault Felony Enforcement, or SAFE, task force investigation, FBI spokeswoman Laura Eimiller said.

EDUCATION

Four elementary schools in the Glendale Unified School District were named 2008 California Distinguished Schools on Wednesday, bringing the total number in the district to receive the state’s top honor to 23.

La Crescenta, John Muir, R.D. White and Dunsmore elementary schools were among the 343 public elementary schools recognized this year, according to the state Department of Education.

Reaching the Distinguished Schools level means that the schools have met one prerequisite for being named a national Blue Ribbon school.

Distinguished Schools are the “best of the best” in the state, State Supt. of Public Instruction Jack O’Connell said in a statement.

RELIGION

After 13 years presiding over Holy Family Catholic Church, the Rev. Joe Shea, who is credited with revitalizing the parish after a period of decline, will leave his congregation in July for reassignment to St. Rose of Lima Church in Simi Valley.

Shea’s departure comes at the end of his second six-year term under the Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles, though the veteran pastor did request an extension at Holy Family, he said.

His move will cap a recent era of mushrooming enrollment at Holy Family’s coed elementary school and all-girls high school and new fundraising efforts that supported major physical improvements of the church structure, parish officials say.

Shea took over the parish first as an administrator in 1995, when former pastor Msgr. Arthur Lirette was battling an illness that later claimed his life in June 2007, said Brad Thomas, Shea’s assistant.

SPORTS

 The Crescenta Valley High softball team entered the week ranked at the top of the California Interscholastic Federation Division III rankings for the first time this season. The Falcons backed it up in full force Tuesday with a 5-3 victory against visiting Burbank in a Pacific League contest. Junior catcher/shortstop Baillie Kirker hit a key home run for the Falcons, who shared the league championship last season with Arcadia.

 The Crescenta Valley and Hoover high baseball teams met for the first time this season Wednesday in a Pacific League game. The Falcons, who won the league championship last year, posted a 12-4 road victory against the Tornadoes. Jake Lehne drove in a game-high six runs for Crescenta Valley, which saw Hoover commit an alarming eight errors.

 Glendale High’s swimming teams notched victories Wednesday in a Pacific League home dual meet. In the boys’ competition, sophomore Artur Hovhannisyan and Matthew Hovsepian each won a pair of individual races.

The Nitros got a pair of victories from Katalina Sher and teammate Jade Wilia helped win three relay events in the girls’ competition.

NOTABLE QUOTABLES

“At any given time there are hundreds if not thousands of these websites. And once they close down, another one will crop up to take its place.”

— FBI spokeswoman Laura Eimiller, on the arrest of a Glendale man on suspicion of possession of child pornography.

“It’s really great to see the commanderies among all these different departments. It’s a friendly competition, but it shows we’re all one big family.”

— Glendale Police Sgt. Tim Feeley, on the upcoming “Baker to Vegas Relay” that pits police departments across the county against one another in a 120-mile road race.

“It was the best call I’ve ever had in my entire life.”

— Dunsmore Elementary School Principal Mary LaMasa, on a hearing that Dunsmore had been named a California Distinguished School.

“You get to dig and get all dirty.”

— Valley View Elementary School student Paige Wright, 8, on the benefits of participating in the school’s new garden club.

“He doesn’t have a slow speed. It’s pedal to the metal, that’s the way he operates and by doing so he’s become very loved and endeared here, so we hate like heck to see him leave but he has to do what he has to do.”

Brad Thomas, assistant to the pastor at Holy Family Catholic Church, on the Rev. Joe Shea, who has been reassigned to a different church and will leave Glendale in July.

“I don’t see this as an excommunicable transgression.”

— Mayor John Drayman, on an e-mail Gary Cornell, vice-chairman of the Community Development Block Grant Advisory Committee, sent to some members of City Council on Monday urging them to alter funding allotments for some nonprofit programs against the recommendations that he joined in his committee’s unanimous approval for in January.



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